Katharine Hepburn Movies

Want to know the best Katharine Hepburn movies?  How about the worst Katharine Hepburn movies?  Curious about Katharine Hepburn box office grosses or which Katharine Hepburn movie picked up the most Oscar® nominations? Need to know which Katharine Hepburn movie got the best reviews from critics and audiences and which got the worst reviews? Well you have come to the right place, because we have all of that information and a lot more!

Katharine Hepburn’s movie career was one heck of a roller coaster ride. The ride started on a high note with an Oscar® win for 1933’s Morning Glory and a blockbuster hit in 1934’s Little Women. She was unable to maintain her early success. The rest of the 1930s did not go very well for her. Hepburn made eleven more movies in the 1930s, and with a couple of exceptions (Alice Adams & Stage Door), they were all box office bombs. After being labeled “box office poison” she returned to the stage.

In 1940 Hepburn returned to Hollywood to make the film version of The Philadelphia Story. The film was one of the biggest hits of the year and earned Hepburn her third Oscar® nomination. After that success she appeared for the first time with Spencer Tracy in 1942’s Woman of the Year. Tracy and Hepburn would make nine films together over the next twenty-five years and become one the greatest screen couples ever. Their final appearance together would be 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, which was a blockbuster hit and earned Hepburn her 2nd Oscar® win. The following year she appeared in The Lion in Winter. She amazingly won her 3rd Oscar® win for Best Actress. Following her back to back Oscar® wins, Hepburn’s movie career took another downward spiral.

For the next twenty-five years, she would appear in only eight more movies. Most of those movies died at the box office, but she had one more major role left in her. In 1981 she appeared in On Golden Pond opposite Henry Fonda. On Golden Pond was her second biggest box office hit and earned her a record fourth Academy Award® for Best Actress. Her last role was in 1994’s Love Affair. Katharine Hepburn passed away June 29th 2003 at the age of 96.

Her IMDb page shows 52 acting credits from 1932-1994. This page will rank 43 Katharine Hepburn movies from Best to Worst in six different sortable columns of information. Television shows, shorts, cameos and movies not released in North American theaters were not included in the rankings.

Katharine Hepburn in 1968's The Lion In Winter

Katharine Hepburn in 1968’s The Lion in Winter

Katharine Hepburn Movies Can Be Ranked 6 Ways In This Table

The really cool thing about this table is that it is “user-sortable”. Rank the movies anyway you want.

  • Sort Katharine Hepburn movies by co-stars of her movies
  • Sort Katharine Hepburn movies by adjusted domestic box office grosses using current movie ticket cost (in millions)
  • Sort Katharine Hepburn movies by domestic box office rank
  • Sort Katharine Hepburn movies by how they were received by critics and audiences.  60% rating or higher should indicate a good movie.
  • Sort by how many Oscar® nominations and how many Oscar® wins each Katharine Hepburn movie received.
  • Sort Katharine Hepburn movies by Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score.  UMR Score puts box office, reviews and awards into a mathematical equation and gives each movie a score.
  • Use the sort and search button to make this a very interactive page.  For example type in Spencer Tracy in the search box to see all of Tracy/Hepburn performances….or type Cary Grant in the search box to bring up all of the Grant/Hepburn movies….or type in….I think you get the idea.
 

Stats and Possibly Interesting Things From The Above Katharine HepburnTable

  1. Nineteen Katharine Hepburn movies crossed the magical $100 million domestic gross mark.  That is a percentage of 44.19% of her movies listed. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) was her biggest box office hit…. holding off On Golden Pond (1981)
  2. An average Katharine Hepburn movie grosses $120.30 million in adjusted box office gross.
  3. Using RottenTomatoes.com’s 60% fresh meter.  28 of Katharine Hepburn’s movies are rated as good movies…or 65.11% of her movies.  The Philadelphia Story (1940) was her highest rated movie while The Little Minister (1934) was her lowest rated movie.
  4. Nineteen Katharine Hepburn movies received at least one Oscar® nomination in any category…..or 44.18% of her movies.
  5. Eight Katharine Hepburn movies won at least one Oscar® in any category…..or 18.60% of her movies.
  6. An average Ultimate Movie Rankings (UMR) Score is 39.86.  26 Katharine Hepburn movies scored higher than that average….or 60.46% of her movies.  The Lion in Winter (1968) got the the highest UMR Score while The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969) got the lowest UMR Score.
Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in 1967's Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy in 1967’s Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner

Check out Katharine Hepburn‘s career compared to current and classic actors.  Most 100 Million Dollar Movies of All-Time.

Wait! Want more Katharine Hepburn stats?  Well we have adjusted worldwide grosses on 24 of her movies.

  1. Dragon Seed (1944) $393.70 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  2. The Sea of Grass (1947) $288.00 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  3. The Philadelphia Story (1940) $280.20 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  4. Undercurrent (1946) $276.10 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  5. Song of Love (1947) $268.90 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  6. Keeper of the Flame (1942) $267.90 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  7. State of the Union (1948) $261.10 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  8. Without Love (1945) $260.10 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  9. Stage Door (1937) $229.10 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  10. Woman of the Year (1942) $224.70 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  11. Little Women (1933) $223.10 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  12. Adam’s Rib (1949) $214.80 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  13. Bringing Up Baby (1938) $158.30 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  14. Mary of Scotland (1936) $143.90 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  15. Pat and Mike (1952) $117.40 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  16. The Little Minister (1934) $115.70 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  17. Alice Adams (1935) $76.60 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  18. Break of Hearts (1935) $72.00 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  19. A Woman Rebels (1936) $65.00 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  20. Spitfire (1934) $64.90 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  21. The Iron Petticoat (1957) $60.60 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  22. A Bill of Divorcement (1932) $57.90 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  23. Sylvia Scarlett (1935) $51.10 million in worldwide adjusted gross
  24. Quality Street (1937) $42.60 million in worldwide adjusted gross

Check out Steve’s Katharine Hepburn You Tube Video

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82 thoughts on “Katharine Hepburn Movies

  1. HI BRUCE
    1 Can I say straight away that I like and admire Hanks as both a person and a star but as I know you do too I couldn’t resist winding you up!

    2 Tom seems a very nice guy and perhaps he is one of those un-Tracy like stars who genuinely doesn’t mind over much about billing as long as the roles are at least potentially interesting, he get his due salary*** and his name is in same size letters as his main co-stars. He took 2nd billing to DeCaprio in the 2002 Catch Me if You Can when Leo was just starting out as a major star and Tom had a far better movies record than the latter and Tom was also billed 2nd to Emma Thompson in Saving Mr Banks. DeCaprio and Streep may at a stretch have had a case of sorts but I can’t believe that if billing seriously bothered Tom, Emma Thompson could have resisted too much.

    3 Tom may just hope that Meryl does not have the same agent as Bullock because The Post has not made much money and you will recall that Sandra’s agent blamed Tom for that when Extremely Loud/Incredibly Close bombed at the box office.

    4 Incidentally did I ever tell you that on my visit to the States in 1999 I went to Savannah and stood by the replica? of Tom’s Forrest Gump bench? The Savannah History Museum says it’s the real bench but Paramount claims it is a replica like the Oscars that stars get. Whatever the truth you can’t sit where Hanks sat as the bench is roped off.

    ***I have just seen quoted on the Internet the estimated net worth of Tom Hanks and my sporting favourite Roger Federer- Tom $350 million/Roger $450 million so neither of them can have any salary complaints!

    1. Hey Bob
      1. I always enjoy talking about Mr. Hanks. I fear that tomorrow….another quality performance from him will fail to get a nomination…..too bad his name is not Tom Streep….then he would have 15 nominations. Heck he has not had a nomination in almost 20 years.
      2. I agree…he does not seem too concerned about billing…..I saw he in a documentary about typewriters….and he did not take top billing there either….lol.
      4. Very cool about the Gump bench….that seems like a wonderful place to take a photo.
      5. Good stats on Hanks and Federer. I think Roger might be able to hold of Tom….when their careers come to an end.
      Thanks for the comment and visit.

  2. Just added Steve’s Great Kate video to this page. My comment on his channel

    “The Great Kate gets an update. So of the 44 movies…I have seen 23. Not too far from Flora. Ones I am not a fan of…..#22 Keeper of the Flame….a dud. #16 Long Day’s Journey Into The Night….3 hours of unlikable characters #12 Suddenly Last Summer….dreadful movie. On the good side…love all of her Grant movies…#1 Philadelphia Story #2 Bringing Up Baby #6 Holiday….and of course #2 The African Queen…..my grandmother’s all-time favorite movie. #25 Rooster Cogburn should have been much better. Voted up….shared….and liked. Nice update.”

    1. Thanks for the share Bruce. I wanted it to be a top 50 video but was surprised to find just 44 theatrical films listed at IMDB.

      1. Hey Steve….for such a long career….Hepburn took lots of time off between movies. The reasons varied (box office poison, taking care of Tracy, she was picky about scripts)…..but she still managed a pretty impressive total of movies….as 44 for an actress is pretty stout. Streep who has been working non-stop for almost 45 years is only up to 55 movies.

  3. HI STEVE. 1 Thanks for the additional feedback about Crawford and Garbo. Frankly I always found Garbo a bit of a mountebank and bore and had no personal interest whatsoever in her movies though as a movie buff I am glad to have any trivia and other historical information about her actual career. What I could glean from the Crawford/Davis mini-series called Feud suggests that Katie didn‘t appear to have much time for either of them and seemed to want to keep her distance from the pair.

    2 Katie tops the AFI’s female Legends list and the consensus of opinion appears to be that she shaded even Davis as a great actress. However some observers now reckon Meryl Streep to be the greatest actress of all time – see for example IMDB’s current “Ultimate” list of the 50 Greatest which ranks Meryl No, 1 Katharine No 2, Ingrid Bergman No 3 and Bette No 4 Unfortunately my Joan is ranked a lowly 47th.

    3 My impression has always been that in their respective heydays Davis and Crawford were a bit more consistent than Katie at the box office [the Tracy/Hepburn flicks aside] but there is no doubt that in the long run Hepburn outlasted that pair with big hits in the 1960s Lion in Winter and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner and massive commercial success as late as 1981 with On Golden Pond in which she was billed above the Fondas Henry and Jane. My Joan for example on the other hand in my opinion really ceased to be a vertiginous box office star after 1954’s Johnny Guitar-
    “No matter whether he’s dead and buried,
    No matter whether he’s near or far,
    I know there’s no other like my Johnny,
    The one they call Johnny Guitar. “
    Dan could no doubt tell us that Joan’s Johnny Guitar was played by Sterling Hayden who in 1952 was Bette’s leading man in The Star – who needed Franchot Tone when the “hunky” young Hayden was available?! I remember my aunt saying “I’d love to take him home with me!”

    4 With these extended selections you make it more difficult for me at least to be definitive about the greatest of the posters but here again at random are a dozen or so that I thought were among the very best and worth another 98% rating. Dragon Seed, The Madwoman of Chaillot, Sea of Grass, Quality Street in which it is this time Katie’s turn to get Franchot! Rooster Cogburn with Katie and the Duke looking equally iconic, Summertime, the raunchy one from Suddenly Last Summer, Little Women, the full set of posters from both Adam’s Rib and African Queen and par excellence being both Spitfire and The Rainmaker and indeed to me those two were astonishing.

    5. First class-stills as usual my pick of which are the opening one of the glamorous young Katie [the trouble of being around too long is that the later looks of gals like Katie and Bette contrast unflatteringly with their younger selves on screen] the splendid lobby cards from Mary of Scotland, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, and Adam’s Rib, the two of Kate with Archie Leach and possibly the most impressive being Katie with a sinister looking Bob Taylor in Undercurrent. Katie didn’t think much of Mitchum’s acting skills in that one but later confessed “Robert Mitchum crept up on us.”

    6 You and WH agree on 3 of Katie’s Top 5 for Review and naturally his 5 is more packed than is yours with Alex Leach movies!

    1. Hi Bob, thanks for the review, generous rating, info, trivia, comment, observation and comparison, always appreciated. Glad you liked the posters and stills.

      Yeah these expanded videos do take a bit longer to sit thru than the others, I hope the variety of posters and stills and various transitions keep the viewer from being bored. I wish I had a wider range of music at hand. If only all classical music was copyright free but alas the conductor and his orchestra can claim rights to each piece of music.

      As demonstrated by some of the stills on my video Katharine Hepburn was quite pretty in the 30s and 40s, but like Bette & Joan, loveliness does not last.

      Who was the greater actress – Bette or Katie? Both equally great IMO. I’m not a huge fan of Streep but I admit she’s the best of the still living and working film actresses. Helen Mirren the best British actress? Or should that be Judi Dench?

      I confess that great acting in movies has never impressed me [cue gasps] or drawn me to a particular highly praised film, otherwise I would have had to sit thru hundreds of dreary melodramas over the decades.

      Looking at my files 8 Hepburn movies have scored 10 out of 10. I think that’s more than Bette & Joan managed. They include – The African Queen, The Lion in Winter, Bringing Up Baby and The Philadelphia Story. 8 more have scored 9 out of 10. Three have scored 8.

      Lion in Winter and Philadelphia Story are the highest scorers at IMDB, scoring 8.1 each. Philly is no.1 at Rotten Tomatoes.

      Philly is also no.1 on Bruce’s critics and UMR charts. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner is her highest grosser.

      Tomorrows video is a big one – The Return of the King (ooh what could he mean?) 🙂

      1. 1 HI STEVE As usual in your feedback to my posts about your videos you make some interesting and very observant points which I always absorb and appreciate even where we disagree over for example whether or not some guy is a big mumbler!

        2 Certainly I can see where you may be coming from when you say you are not necessarily impressed by great acting and other screen technicalities in themselves and indeed it seems to me that the public’s taste does not generally converge with that of critics, historians and movie connoisseurs regarding what constitutes the “very best” films.

        3 For example the likes of Grease, Star Wars and Jaws have all found massive favour with the public whereas “dry goods” projects such as Tokyo Story, Bicycle Thieves, and Ingmar Bergman’s The 7th Seal are drooled over by critics, directors and others among the movies “intelligentsia” because of their perceived high level of technical qualities in which the public may not be primarily interested.

        4 Nevertheless there can be a crossover and the differing ingredients in movies may not always be mutually exclusive because the public can normally sense, even subconsciously, a poorly made film and condemn it by word of mouth and that is no doubt why films like Psycho and GWTW which were exceptionally well made if not perceived as “high art” have had massive appeal down the years.

        5 Moreover Hollywood has always seen as separate to a degree the concepts of the great STAR and the great actor/actresses and the movie industry has regarded them as having different but at times overlapping functions.

        6 It was perhaps best expressed by Jack Warner and director Robert Aldrich when discussing why BOTH Crawford and Davis were required for Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. “Joan with her legions of fans will draw the crowds to the box office while Bette’s acting will make it a GREAT film.”

        7 Personally in the 50s I preferred the routine but to me entertaining Chuck’s 1953 Arrowhead and my Richard’s 1959 Warlock to for example the highly praised The Member of the Wedding for which Julie Harris was Oscar nominated and today that would still be my preference. Philistine I may be but as the saying goes that’s who I am. Why should I let some guy like Joel, who like myself is interpretative rather than creative, tell me what I must like?

        1. STEVE

          Regarding final para of my previous post to you, as a matter of interest the Work Horse gives Arrowhead a 43% rating and Warlock a 61.2% one, an average of 52.4% for my two action western movies. On Bruce’s Fred Ziinnemann page the WH awards Member of the Wedding a 70% rating. I remain defiant!

          1. Hey Bob…..more solid information on the Great Kate. Sorry Arrowhead is so lowly rated…as for Warlock….that would be a “fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes…..so it has that going for it.

            Joel would say all the power to you…..as he mentions that in his book….which currently has a very good price (less than 4 bucks)…..one day it will be in your movie book collection…lol.

            https://www.amazon.com/Rating-Movie-Stars-Joel-Hirschhorn/dp/0517414449/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1516595502&sr=8-1&keywords=joel+hirschhorn%27s+rating+the+movie+stars

      2. Hey Steve….I will be checking out your Kate video….after catching up on the comments here….I will share the link on this page.

    2. Hey Bob
      1. Good review on Steve’s Great Kate page.
      2. I have to go and check that out…..and see it for myself.
      3. Streep has the most Oscar nominations…..but how many of her movies are going to be remembered years from now….she has The Deer Hunter, Kramer vs Kramer and ????? Nobody talks about The Iron Lady. Well people be talking about The Post in April of this year?
      4. Streep is one of the great ones….but not ahead of people like Davis and Crawford.
      5. Another point would be for 20 years he movies got little box office attention….she had a nice run about 10 years ago….but she is now back the little box office attention phase.
      6. Having Bringing Up Baby and Philadephia Story seems pretty accurate….but I will admit that Holiday seems a tad bit too high…..the last time I looked at the reviews for that movie was back in 2011…..putting it in my notebook….to revisit that movie.
      Good feedback as always.

      1. HI BRUCE

        1 As always when you’re in your best form you make points that give me food for thought.

        2 I see though that in The Post Streep is billed above Hanks which suggests that for now at least her status is considered superior to his despite their historical Cogerson box office records of in Tom’s favour $7.59 billion [average $158.1] million to $3.76 [average$68.5]
        NB Para 4 of your Hanks Interesting Facts requires updating

        3 Oh if only Old Cantankerous were around to put Meryl in her place in the pecking order!!

        1. Hey Bob
          1. Thank you.
          2. I did not even notice that Streep was billed first…….interesting that she is first….as Hanks has a much better box office track record.
          3. I actually thought her role slowed down the movie…..yes she is good in the movie….but one of the Top 5 performances of the year.
          4. The best performance I saw this year was Sally Hawkins in Maudie. I think it played here in 2017….but was made in 2016. Hawkins is incredible in the role.
          5. I will update the Hanks facts…thanks for the update.
          6. Yep we need Old Cantankerous back.
          Good stuff.

  4. BRUCE 1 If I had had a pistol near me when this Hepburn update appeared I would have fired the gun in the air to celebrate ***as I’m doing one of my special exercises, this time involving WW grosses of classic era stars, and you have given me some extra information in that respect which will be very relevant to my task.

    2 Katie tops the AFI’s ladies’ Screen Legends list and it was always my impression that in terms of stardom her nearest counterpart on the male list was not Tracy but ole Mumbles. Katie like him never made enough movies to have vertiginous overall grosses that equaled those of the Big Box Office Beasts like Grant, Duke, Gable and Tracy himself and whilst both Katharine and Mumbles had great box office success in phases [Katie especially with Old Cantankerous] their legends do I feel rest on perceptions of them as great acting talents and powerhouse screen personalities as well as the longevity of their movie careers.

    3 Indeed some months ago John asked for my opinion about how Katie’s legendary status had developed over the years and I gave him some thoughts on the subject but it struck me at the time that it would have been useful to have YOUR thoughts on the matter but I did not request that as you may have been in one of your AWOL phases round about then and I wasn’t sure if that Automation was programmed to take spontaneous questions ! Anyway let me once more express my personal appreciation of Katie’s update and your comprehensive treatment of the same.

    ***Apparently a traditional Wild West way of registering appreciation! In the 1976 film The Great Scout and Cathouse Thursday [what a title – I bet the marquees loved that one!] a crowd of Mexican locals who were hired as extras fired blanks-loaded guns into the air to celebrate the fact that Oliver Reed bested co-star Lee Marvin in a public beer drinking competition. Indeed Ollie apparently broke the local record for numbers of pints consumed in a single drinking bout.

    1. Hey Bob….glad you like this update….while doing other pages…I kept noticing that my box office grosses on needed some tweaking….as I have gotten better sources of information since writing pages on Hepburn, Taylor and so many others.

      In my recently updated page….$100 million dollar movies…..I made the table sortable so now the career box office total actually works….so looking at that table…..here are their rankings of the people you mentioned.

      Grant 10th
      Duke 1st
      Gable 3rd
      Tracy 7th
      Kate 88th
      Brando 81st

      So I think your point is proven.

      The big change on this page was Little Women….which I had worldwide box office rentals as the domestic rentals…..so it’s box office gross plummeted.

      Good story on Reed and Marvin.

      1. HI BRUCE

        1 I noticed the change in Little Women but thought I had made a mistake. Good to know that I’m still ‘perfect’ even if you aren’t !!! Actually on a serious note because I use your figures a lot for my personal exercises I am able to appreciate just how consistent even your detailed stats summaries are for the most part.

        2 I agree with your practice of using career earning in determining rankings. However other sources will have their own systems. For example several years ago one source published its list of the perceived greatest movie stars of all time and its criteria for ranking them was –
        (1) Acting ability as reflected by for example official awards/nominations like Oscar and Golden Globes.
        (2) Public image. Here somebody like Crowe would have been marked down whereas your Myrna would have done well because of her work for social causes and her war effort.
        (3) Volume and favourability of Press coverage.
        (4) Box office success as measured by Box Office Mojo’s 200 Highest Grossing Movies of all Time adjusted for inflation. Jimmy Stewart for example did well here because he was in monster hits like How the West Was Won and Rear Window. To me thought this represents just a “snap shot” approach to the matter and to get a proper perspective one needs to adopt the more comprehensive approach like the one that you take.

        1. Hey Bob….happy to say Little Women was the only one out of 43 movies that had a major change. Not too bad consider it was first written in 2011. I agree there are many many ways to rank the stars….and there are no right or wrong ways. I like that you are giving Ms. Loy some props….proud day….lol. Over the years I have tweaked the formula….but I like how my calculation grades each movie…..one day….I will figure out a better way to translate the scores. Right now a movie that earns above a 40 UMR score is considered good….when people seeing a 40….they think bad….and I can not really blame them. One day…. we will get that resolved. As always…thanks for the feedback.

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